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Beeleigh Abbey and Attached Wall

A Grade I Listed Building in Maldon, Essex

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Latitude: 51.738 / 51°44'16"N

Longitude: 0.6636 / 0°39'48"E

OS Eastings: 584008

OS Northings: 207721

OS Grid: TL840077

Mapcode National: GBR QLY.SR4

Mapcode Global: VHJK5.GL50

Entry Name: Beeleigh Abbey and Attached Wall

Listing Date: 2 October 1951

Last Amended: 8 October 1996

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1257150

English Heritage Legacy ID: 464191

Location: Maldon, Maldon, Essex, CM9

County: Essex

District: Maldon

Civil Parish: Maldon

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Maldon All Saints with St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Listing Text


574-1/1/225 (East side (off))
02/10/51 Beeleigh Abbey and attached wall
(Formerly Listed as:
Beeleigh Abbey)


Premonstratensian abbey, converted to house. Founded c1180 by
Robert Mantell. C13-C16 with later alterations, areas of
rebuilding and addition of c1912.
MATERIALS: septaria, pudding-stone and rubble mix with areas
of C16 red brick; ashlar and Purbeck marble dressings;
timber-framed inserted partitions and C16 range with brick
nogging; plain tiled roofs.
PLAN: of the Abbey buildings, only the east range of the
cloister and the stub of the south range survives. The east
range is an L-plan block with the chapter house oriented
east-west and the dorter running north-south, separated from
the chapter house by a barrel-vaulted parlour or passage.
Projecting to the south of the dorter are the remains of a
range with a gable to the east which probably housed the
passage to the reredorter, into which has been inserted a C17
staircase. Built into the angle between this range and the
dorter is a 3-storey timber-framed range. Of the south range,
or frater, only the site of the day stairs and slype survives,
now used as the main entrance.
EXTERIOR: 2-3 storeys throughout with a single-storey and
attic addition of c1912 built into the south-east angle.
Chapter House: Early C13, the upper floor, except on the south
side, largely rebuilt. Four bays. Paired west entrances with
hollow-chamfered pointed arches supported by a triple central
shaft with waterholding bases and bell capitals; dogtooth
jambs with nook-shafts; flanked by a pair of 2-light windows
with quatrefoil plate tracery, central shaft with moulded
capital and base. Eroded demi-angel corbel above. C19
square-headed window of 4 cinquefoil lights to 1st floor;
timber casement to rendered gable.
The north wall has a single lancet with cinquefoil head to the
ground floor and three 2-light windows above, the outer two
being reset medieval fabric. Wall shows scars interpreted as
the springing of a former barrel-vaulted building adjoining to
the north.
East wall has eroded stone quoins, repaired in brick. Two
square-headed windows of 2 cinquefoil lights to the ground
floor of late C14, the northernmost restored; 2 similar C19
windows above. 4-light timber casement to gable south wall has
restored late C14 two-light window to east and lancet to west;
above are 2 lancets and a further 2-light window.
Dorter range: 4 bays with parlour/passage to north. The west
wall is concealed by the range added c1912, at which time the
early C16 1st-floor windows corresponding with those on the
east side were blocked. East wall has C20 window inserted into
former blocked doorway of parlour/passage. To dorter
undercroft three 3-light C15 Perpendicular windows with panel
tracery, the northernmost renewed; a further blocked window to
the south bay contains a C17 oak doorway. Off-set buttresses
repaired in C16 brick. 1st floor has 5 early C16 brick
square-headed mullioned windows, each of two arched lights.
Reredorter passage range has a blocked Tudor-arched door with
adjoining blocked lancet and a rectangular light. Further
rectangular light to 1st floor and casement to rendered gable.
Frater range: west wall has single light to ground floor, 1st
floor rebuilt in brick with a C16 Tudor-arched doorway
converted into a window. Twin diamond-set stacks. North wall
has 2-light late C14 window to 1st floor. South wall has C13
pointed slype doorway now forming main entrance. Timber
casement to east, and to 1st floor. Gabled dormer to attic.
Timber-framed block: in the late C16 a 3-storey timber-framed
wing was built onto the remains of the reredorter passage
range, with a roof gabled to east and west. Originally jettied
on two floors on the west side, the ground-floor front wall
has since been brought forward. Close-studded wall with
possibly original brick nogging displays evidence for former
square projecting oriel windows, on brackets on 1st and 2nd
floors. The 1st-floor jetty bressumer projects forward with
crenellated decoration. The south flank has 2 full-height
storey posts and exposed studwork in the front 2 bays. The
centre bay reveals remnants of further square projecting
windows on ground and 1st floors.
INTERIORS: Chapter House divided down the centre by 3
octagonal Purbeck piers with bell capitals and moulded bases.
Quadripartite vaults with finely-moulded ribs and large
foliate bosses to alternate bays. Ribs spring from corbels on
the outer walls, whose abaci run into a continuous string
course. The damaged west door repeats the external detail.
Inserted door to parlour/passage.
Dorter range: C13 pointed door to parlour/passage. This
apartment retains traces of a painted foliate scroll frieze to
north and south walls and above the west door. The dorter
undercroft is subdivided longitudinally by 3 Purbeck columns
with bell capitals and moulded bases. Quadripartite vaults
with chamfered ribs, springing from wall corbels with a
variety of decorative treatments, including knotting, with
spiral and foliate patterns. Traces of wall painting.
Fireplace to west wall has double-chamfered segmental arch
decorated with fleurons; carved encircled quatrefoils to the
spandrels with shield, beast's head and mouchette motifs;
above, a band of giant fleurons and demi-angels bearing
musical instruments, all very worn; crenellated rail flanked
by buttresses terminating in octagonal crenellated pinnacles;
lined with medieval pamments. C17 and C18 cast iron firebacks.
2 doors in west wall: C13 pointed door to frater range with
C17 door to north. Dorter to 1st floor now lined with
bookshelves concealing west wall. Inserted stud partition to
each end, that to the south supporting reused C15 screen with
embattled rail.
Wide-span roof of early-mid C16 date with 2 collars, the lower
carrying crown posts with thin longitudinal braces. Curved
ashlar pieces springing from inner wall plates forming, with
similarly curved soulace pieces, the framing for a former
plaster barrel ceiling. The remains of 5 crown posts can be
seen, but the roof continues largely concealed to the south,
where part of the barrel ceiling is still intact.
Frater range: north wall has C13 slype doorway, now leading to
kitchen. 1st-floor room entered by C16 timber Tudor-arched
doorway with carved spandrels in square-headed surround, which
was approached by a flight of external stairs prior to the
c1912 addition. Roof of 7 cants with slightly curved ashlar
and soulace pieces of C15 or earlier date.
Timber-framed block: jowled posts and internal curved wall
bracing with some reused timber. Roof of 3 bays, unrelated to
bay divisions of frame, with A-frame trusses with high collars
and substantial straight arch braces. A near central partition
is partly of timber-framing and partly of brick and masonry
with arched fireplace on 1st floor. All windows now have iron
leaded-light casements, some with reused moulded timber
mullions and some of C17 type with timber security bars.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached wall to south west: approx 2m
high, red brick with blue diaper diamond pattern, in two
lengths cranked in centre; chamfered plinth.
HISTORY: the canons migrated c1180 to Beeleigh from Great
Parndon, which is turn had been colonised from Newhouse,
Lincs, the first house of the order in England. At the time of
the Dissolution in 1536, when it was home to nine canons, it
passed to John Gate of High Easter. He alienated it to William
Marche of Calais in 1546, and it was in the possession of the
Francke family by 1580.
(RCHME: Essex: London: 1921-: 178-81; Victoria County History:
Essex: 1907-: 172; Fowler R C: Beeleigh Abbey: 1924-; Morant
P: History & Antiquities of the County Of Essex: 1793-: 336).

Listing NGR: TL8400807721

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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